31 August 2007

The moments that matter...

There are days that stick in your memory. Some authors talk about the day the book was accepted or the moment the author held the first print copy in hand. Who knows why one moment makes all the others fade away? Who knows why other books have been like that for me...highlights and hazy memories of the rest?

FAIRY DREAMS has never been like that for me. The moments are crisp, clear...not blending together much at all.

I remember the moment the idea struck me, sitting there, listening to
Master Efenwealt's song "Perhaps A Dream," the final words echoing in my mind. "Will they come again?" I listened to the song several times in succession then started writing, the idea of fairies watching over the women of the Blake family firmly ensconced in my fevered mind.

I remember days and nights of the muse riding me hard on the story and coming up for air 2 months later with a stunning 164,000 words of book, 20K of which would later be removed as back-story and would ultimately become the backbone of a prequel novella. Even at the moment I typed the last word into the computer, I had the idea of the second book in the series.

I remember the querying, the rejections, the acceptance, edits, cover art... A long, hard road but every moment worth it.

Every moment with this book is precious to me. Every new development is a treasure.

Rowan West once told me that the ones that count, the ones that are going to be big for us, are like this. We instinctively know what works best, and our focus on it is so extreme, it's capable of evoking emotion and thoughts no other work does. As far as FAIRY DREAMS is concerned, I'd have to say she's right.

30 August 2007

We write sensual and erotic books. That means a couple of things. It means we get to be show-offs and have fun sites. It means we appreciate the sexuality of humans.

It also means we're vigilant about our private lives, to some extent. We don't go around sharing our home addresses. In some cases, we use a pen name AT ALL TIMES we're the author persona, we don't tell anyone where we live, past a state...which may not even be true, because some of us live in areas or have family that would skewer us socially for writing sex or even romance...and some of us would conceivably lose our jobs over what we write.

Now, I've always been an advocate for using a pen name, even on your copyright page (and I will not sign with a publisher that won't allow me that). I've always been a proponent of having a PO Box, though that's not always a help in a small town, admittedly. I've always suggested putting your pen name as a "business name" on your checking account, because you can accept money orders made out to the pen name, if you do. I've always believed this would give authors an opaque though not completely solid wall of protection. And, it does...until someone does something stupid.

Such stupid thing started for some authors when one of the two indie/e publishers to recently do so filed bankruptcy.

Now, I won't rehash my feelings and the flawed essence of the current bankruptcy laws and how they negatively impact the rights of authors to earn a living. That is something that really needs to change, and the only way it's going to change is by authors contacting their congressmen and senators with demands for changes in the bankruptcy laws, but that's not what we're here to talk about today.

We're here to talk about the "veil of a pen name" and how that veil can be ripped away and irreparable harm done to authors, in the process.

Step one: The publisher files bankruptcy and lists authors as creditors. The authors are owed money from the publisher, so this has to happen. Authors are further named under the "assets" section, since their contracts are tied up in the bankruptcy. The courts are going to insist that the legal names and addresses of the authors be listed in the court paperwork, which is admittedly a public record.

HOWEVER, those records are not searchable by Google or other search engines, so the author still has a modicum of privacy, in that the someone would have to go into the database, pay to access the records, know which records they want and know how to interpret everything to find the authors. Not impossible but expensive and time consuming.

Step two: Some eager-beaver blog that purports to "protect authors" has to have its collective head so far up a spacious posterior as to think it's a "good idea" to download said legal documents and post them, in their entirety, to their blog site, in an effort to "protect authors."

You read that right. In order to "protect authors," this site, which I will not name, out of courtesy to the authors still attempting to get the Google trail of this idiocy removed, because I know what protecting an erotic author means... It means you don't OUT them. You don't risk their jobs and personal life by posting their information on a searchable forum. It means that just because you CAN access it, doesn't mean you SHOULD post it for the world at large.

What I find most amusing is that the bloggers involved feel justified in doing this, because they are "protecting authors." In fact, there was nothing about protecting authors in this act. They certainly weren't protecting the authors of the defunct publisher, since outing them is patently dangerous to them, in some cases. And, there was no way that the names and addresses of the affected authors was information that would have helped any other author out there.

They feel justified--or did, until they'd had enough complaints to open their eyes that the decision to post the information was a highly unpopular one with authors--because the information was already "public record." As I said, just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD.

So, no matter what steps you take to protect your identity, always be aware that there are those who don't think before they act. Not that I would tell anyone not to write what calls to them, but this fiasco has been an eye-opener to many authors, and I hope the learning experience will stop other blog-owners from doing something equally ill-advised.

That said, what's new from me? FAIRY DREAMS is on pre-sale at Mundania. FORBIDDEN LOVE: SACRED BANDS will be releasing from Under The Moon/Final Sword Productions on Sept 6th. And, I just learned that THE LAST OF FION'S DAUGHTERS will be releasing in print in Feb 2008 from Phaze!

Oh, and don't forget that the EPPIE (for published e-books) will open for entries on Sept 1. You can read the new guidelines at this link. Shortly after EPPIE closes, the QUASAR (for e-book cover art) will be opening. You can find out about QUASAR at the same link.

Happy writing and publishing!

26 August 2007

Update on my NEWS post...since someone asked...

Actually, I have 2 September releases...a total of 7 more releases, to my knowledge, by Jan 1, though there may be as many as 10 in that time frame. I'd be glad to pass along information, as I get it.

On presale now...

Fairy Dreams, the first of my dan Aidan fairy books, is on pre-release from Mundania Press, LLC. This book is releasing in both e-book and trade paperback. It's dark fantasy sensual romance.

Mollie has impossible hopes and dreams. When one of her dreams comes true in the form of Cadal, she wonders what else is possible. Are her dreams of fairies as real as her dreams of Cadal? Is she losing her mind or learning her destiny?

Cadal came to the Blake estate to fulfill a promise as quickly as he can. Guiding Mollie until she learns to run her estate sounds like a simple task to Cadal -- until Mollie looks in his eyes for the first time. He wants her in a way he hasn’t wanted a woman since Xanthe. If only she wasn’t human…

In September...

6th- Forbidden Love: Sacred Bands will be releasing from Under The Moon/Final Sword Productions (the site is being rebuilt at the moment). This is an anthology of dark erotic romance stories in a variety of genres...all M/M, my first M/M writing, to be precise. The cover authors for this issue (the top 3 stories of the usual 9-12 in an issue) are myself, Gregory L. Norris and Claudia Christian. This book is offered in an 8.5X11, illustrated collectors' edition and usually sells for about $16-18 or so. My release in this collection is "The Master's Lover" from my Star Mages world.

Thebes, 4th C BC... The elite fighting force, inspired by Plato's Symposium, consists of 150 homosexual couples, the fiercest force of their day. Forbidden Love, 21st C AD... In deference to the Sacred Bands of the Thebes elite, this collection is all M/M couples, facing darkness and danger as a working team.

27th- Phaze in Verse will be releasing from Phaze. This is an anthology of sensual and erotic poetry. It will be released in both e-book and a print version. I don't have the price on it yet. I have three poems in this book.

In Oct/Nov...

?- Once Upon A Time, Yesterday will be releasing from UTM/FSP. This anthology is by Gregory L. Norris and myself only. It's 8 stories (three of them my novellas or novelettes), based on the old, unsanitized Grimm's tales, 135K of urban fantasy dark erotic romance. All updated, gritty and bloody, as the Brothers Grimm would have written them, had they penned their tales today. It's the same 8.5X11, illustrated collectors' edition that Forbidden Love releases in.

Once upon a time, the Brothers Grimm penned a book of morality tales. They weren't the sanitized fairy tales of the 20th Century, and if they were recited to a child, late at night, it was in an effort to scare him straight. But, it's the 21st Century, and it's time to take the magic and mayhem back. Loosely based on Grimms, this is an urban fantasy offering you don't want to miss.

releasing in ?- Written In The Stars will be releasing from Mundania Press, LLC. This is another offering (a category-length novel) in my Star Mages world. It will be released in both e-book and trade paperback.

Orphaned. Cast out as a demon, denied her training. Salvation had a price. Riena would rather run than be forced to marry Karris. If she fails, it means death for her brother and herself. If she succeeds, she’ll lose Caiben’s love.

Caiben is everything Riena’s ever wanted in a man. He’s her rescuer, her teacher, gentle and caring, nothing like Karris. He’s also a powerful mage with a royal guard.

Neither of them is what they seem. If Caiben learns Riena is female, she’ll find herself in Karris’ hands. If Riena learns Caiben’s secrets, there is much more at stake.


?- Forbidden Love: Love's Bitch will be releasing from UTM/FSP. Like all the Forbidden Love anthologies, it will be the collectors' edition and will contain 9-12 great stories from some of the best I've worked with. My story for this collection, if it's accepted, is "Close Enough To Human," the Xxan universe, which is new to my readers.

?- The Color of Love will be releasing from Phaze. This is one of my favorite little Christmas stories, a novelette of mine about second chances in love.

It's been a year since Michael Justice broke Grace's heart. She's moved on: a new and annoyingly-perfect boyfriend, her thriving art gallery and almost no regrets. But, now Michael is back in town, a spoiled artist who always gets what he wants...except Grace back, she vows. If only there weren't a magical mood ring telling Grace what she doesn't want to hear, mainly that her perfect Michael-free existence isn't so perfect...and not at all what she really wants.

In addition, Mundania should be releasing some short stories of mine (straight genre fiction), starting sometime this fall. These stories will be released in e-book only and include:

A Wasted Mind- horror- Imagine a modern-day Frankenstein story, and you've got the general idea.

Birthright- dark fantasy- Want the true story of the connection between Van Helsing and Dracula? This is my version of it.

Becoming A God- dark fantasy/sensual content- From my Night Warriors Beast stories... Being a beast (vampire) doesn't have to be all bad. Some days, it's good to be a god.

25 August 2007

Getting your rights back?

A few times per year, the question comes up. A publisher is in breach of contract, non-responsive, disintegrating before the author's eyes. "How do I get my rights back? What do I have to do?"

First of all, you have to make sure you have a legal leg to stand on. If your contract has a "either party may cancel with X days notice" clause, obviously you have a right to cancel the contract at any time. If you are buying your way out on a release clause, again...you can do that at any time allowed by the contract. If the contract is in breach, you have the right to take whatever steps you agreed to in contract, in case of a breach.

You do NOT break a contract just to break it. You signed a legal agreement, and unless you have a legal reason to sever it, you should ride the contract out.

How you get your rights back depends on your contract. If the contract is in breach, it should have steps you should take. Your certified letters to the indie/e publisher SHOULD reference precisely what's wrong, what the breach is you're calling into play. The contract probably lays out how much time they have to remedy the situation, before rights revert to you, and still you MAY have to send a second certified letter, telling them they have defaulted and you demand immediate release of your books, but usually not. You can also reiterate that in your letter, their time frame to correct the breach, if such a thing exists in the contract.

Some contracts have a "may be canceled by either party with 90 days" sort of clause. If it does, remember that you have that 90 days to ride out, even when you invoke the clause. The publisher MAY release you earlier, but legally, you can't force them to.

And, they still owe you your royalties, either way. No matter how you leave the contract, they owe you what they owe you, though you might not see it.

If they sign for the certified letter, you have your clock for the time frame, based on that. Signing for it means the court will assume, rightly or wrongly, that they read the contents of the letter after signing for it. If they REFUSE the letter, do not open it. Save it, with all stamps and such attached to show it was refused. You may need that later. Hopefully not, but if the publisher refuses it, you may not be dealing with a reasonable human.

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, if they refuse the letter and refuse a subsequent letter, stating that they have been in breach for X amount of time, you have to formally break with them publicly. As much as I loathe that sort of approach, it may become necessary. If you, for instance, haven't been paid for your sales in months and have no contact with the publisher, warning off the readers may no longer be an option plan. You can't allow the books to continue selling, knowing you won't be paid for them. As long as you can keep it out of the public eye, try to do so. Warn other authors off privately, of course...since no one wants to see another author walk into a pit. Contact
Piers and P&E about the situation, definitely. But, try to keep the readers out of it, if you can. Left no choice, go there, but don't do it lightly, and give the publisher response time, no matter how hard that seems.

The problem remains, at that point, you cannot sell the books to another publisher, while they remain for sale with the old one, even if you have taken all contractual steps to remove them, even if the contract is in breach, even if you no longer consider the contract valid. Nor can you sign them elsewhere, in many cases, unless you have a formal release, signed by the publisher, even if they are no longer selling at the publisher site and other outlets.

So, what do you do? As horrid as it sounds, you may have to actually file suit/engage a lawyer to file a cease and desist, if they won't take the books down and give you a signed release. Ideal? No. Of course not. No one wants it to come to a court case, but if it does, it does. It's the risk of contracting with ANYONE. But, try non-judicial routes first. A reasonable publisher will know that being in breach puts them in a bad legal position, and a bunch of authors banding together to file suit or hire a lawyer is an ugly moment. With all likelihood, it won't progress this far.

22 August 2007

RT PREP...indie/e please read


It's time to start planning for RT 2008. I have to have the panels set by the end of the week. I'll be inviting non-EPIC members from indie/e, as well, but I want the bulk of the last two panels to be EPIC members.

Just a little information, the panels I'm looking for people to sit are...

e-book Law- specifically contract red flags and contract concerns, release clauses, Millennium, copyright and trademark concerns...both in the book and on the web site or other online promo.


e-marketing- specifically what will shoot you in the career foot, netiquette, etc. as well as doing it yourself. In short we don't want to know how to hire someone else to do the work for you. We want to show how easy it can be to do it for yourself and do it right.

Even if you don't get chosen for a panel, we'll be doing handouts to panel attendees that you can get promo in, on both of these subjucts PLUS the two classes we're offering on choosing an indie/e publisher and submitting to them.

In addition, I'll be coordinating promo for the indie/e authors attending both signings (not that you can't do your own, of course, but this will be a little something extra), so even if you don't want to do panels, sign up for this list, if you'll be there. Publishers and authors, please pass this information along to your attending authors and editors.


Clearly...fame isn't everything...snicker

Just so no one accuses me of stealing it... Yes, the line was from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Philosopher's Stone) and was stated by Severus Snape.

The article that started it all...

Okay, so let me get this straight. Stephen King, the most famous author walking the earth, most likely, walks into a bookshop and signs 7 copies of his book, which raise the value of the book immensely, and someone reports him for vandalism?

Now, granted...most authors ask the manager before signing books, but this is Stephen King. How does not one but several people mistake who he is?

Just when you think you're so famous, no one can possibly mistake who you are, something like this happens.

21 August 2007

NEWS, news and more NEWS!

There's a lot going on, so let me recap as best I can.

I just learned that THE LAST OF FION'S DAUGHTERS is coming to print with Phaze in Feb of 2008! Since this was a reprint, I didn't realize it was going to print, but it is. Can't wait for that!

I have a release date for FORBIDDEN LOVE: SACRED BANDS. It seems the official release date is September 6th from UTM. The slight hold-up was caused by art delays, and if you've ever seen the B&W internal art UTM uses, you know it's worth the wait.

Greg is nearly done with the last bit of our joint book, ONCE UPON A TIME, YESTERDAY, releasing in Oct/Nov from UTM.

And, last but not least, I've entered The Brava Authors Novella Contest with a new novella of mine entitled MAY THE BEST MAN WIN.

It's been a huge week for me.

19 August 2007


It seems there's been some confusion of late about what EPIC is and what it isn't. To that end, I'm about to restate it. I give blanket permission to repost this, as long as it goes intact.

EPIC (The Electronically Published Internet Connection) is a professional organization consisting of e-published and print-published authors and publishing industry professionals. We're a worldwide organization, currently in its 10th year (2007), which more than 650 members in upwards of 9 countries and in nearly every genre of fiction and non-fiction.

EPIC's goals are:

Educating people on indie/e-publishing as a viable and growing publishing industry concern. We have several programs that pursue the realization of this goal, including (but not limited to) articles and trifolds on the subject, member-convention panels and our own yearly convention (EPICon), which is open to both EPIC members and non-members. We also have the model contract and red flags, available to everyone, member or not.

Educating people on reading e-books. The fact is that anyone who frequents a computer has, knowingly or not, read e-books. The only trick is educating them in what e-books are and in breaking down old biases. Again, we have several programs that help us realize this goal, including articles, free CDs, convention presence, e-Fiestas and one-on-one interaction.

To be a support, networking and information network for authors and industry professionals. The main conduit for this is our members-only materials and EPIC lists.

To celebrate excellence in e-publishing. To that end, we run the EPPIE and ARIANA/QUASAR awards yearly (for e-books and e-book covers). These awards are open to all e-books published for sale during the eligible period (Oct 1, 200X through Sept 30, 200Y), whether they are self-published, subsidy/vanity-published, published in indie/e or published in NY. We even welcome reprints (whether reprints of print books or of e-books), as long as an earlier version of the material was not entered in the contest before. They're the longest-standing (9 years) and most inclusive (23 categories in the EPPIE and 15 in the ARIANA/QUASAR) e-book awards in existence.

To further celebrate excellence, EPIC actively promotes the winners of both the EPPIE and the Dream Realm award (the second oldest e-book award) in our information packets and CDs.

To encourage people outside EPIC working toward the same goals we are. In pursuit of this, we offer our FRIEND OF E-PUBLISHING award yearly to someone working tirelessly to advance the industry. Former winners of this award include: Steve and Scott Pendergrast (the owners of Fictionwise), Nick Bogaty (the head of IDPF...the International Digital Publishing Forum), Michael Hart (the originator of Project Gutenberg), Louise Snead (publisher of Affaire de Couer Magazine), Piers Anthony (for his advocacy and his hipiers site) and Katheryn Falk (publisher of Romantic Times Magazine)...among others.

To promote literacy, as all professional publishing industry groups do. To this end, we run the New Voices Contest for middle school and high school students. The students pay not one thin dime to enter the contest, but they compete for prizes that are 100% funded by EPIC and member/industry donations.

That's what EPIC IS. Now, what is EPIC NOT?

EPIC is not RWA, SFWA or any other WA out there. We're inclusive, not exclusive.

EPIC is for contracted and published authors and industry professionals. EPIC is not for unpublished authors. Though we offer information and support, we are not in the business of teaching you how to write. We're in the business of teaching you how to self-edit/hone your craft and how to publish, promote and build a career.

EPIC is not a policing authority for publishers. Yes, we do have a committee looking into a code of ethics that publishers can choose to sign, much as agents agree to the AAR...or not. The publishers listed on the EPIC site are publishers that have one or more members within EPIC. We don't investigate them, vett them or otherwise "approve/recognize" publishers. If the publisher is listed there, it means their representatives are members, and that's a member benefit. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Nor will EPIC "punish" publishers or play referee between authors and a publisher. We will not post a "wall of shame." If you have valid complaints on a publisher, Hipiers list and P&E already exist, for this purpose. While the members of EPIC are more than happy to share their resources, even to information when dealing with an unethical publisher and/or how to choose a publisher, EPIC is not a professional mediator.

EPIC is inclusive; that means that EPIC does not show a bias, based on genre you write, color of your skin, religion, national origin, politics...

No, the E in EPIC does not stand for "erotic." As previously stated, it stands for "electronically." I have no clue who started such a ridiculous rumor about EPIC, but let's set the record straight. EPIC includes straight-genre authors, romance authors, children's and YA authors, non-fiction authors, poets...and yes, authors of sensual and erotic fiction. It also includes publishers of all of the above. I repeat, EPIC is inclusive.

Not even our contests are all erotic. The EPPIE, for example, has a sum total of 5 erotic categories in a total of 23. Is that unreasonable? Considering how prevalent erotic e-publishing is (with even NY jumping on the bandwagon)...no, it's not unreasonable.

Hopefully, this will clear up any confusion over what EPIC is and is not.

18 August 2007

What the FRACK is going on with...

Okay... Maybe it's not QUITE being asked that way, but I'm getting a lot of questions about what's going on with Night Warriors, Renegades and Kegin? When are they coming again and starting new books flowing? Where are they coming out? In all fairness, I'm going to give you every scrap of information I have to give!

Renegades has an answer you might enjoy, actually. TYGERS and Renegade's Run have been signed to Under The Moon/Final Sword Productions. They'll be releasing late winter/early spring in an 8.5X11 illustrated collector's edition, and at least TYGERS will be available for me to sign at RT 2008. I'm hoping both will be. The books are going through a cleaning edit right now, in preparation for this re-issue. Obviously, the future Renegades books will release with UTM/FSP, as they ready for publication. Alpha House will be coming next, from that series...then Flashpoint.

As you know, Kegin has been split. I've offered the historical/legendary Kegins to Phaze. In fact, the first two offerings are there already: The Last of Fion's Daughters (containing Fion's Daughter, Dishonored, A Slave's Life and Schente Night) and Conquest. Other titles I'm working on for the historical/legendary Kegins include The Gods' War, The Taming of Veltina and The Legend of Peak Chol.

The contemporary and near-futuristic Kegins are still seeking a possible NY market. I'm sure you all know how swamped the NY editors are, especially those spearheading the lines Kegin is appropriate for. For that reason, I've taken a few steps to try and get there.

The first you know about already. I've submitted a short from the Kielan world (also a Council of Worlds offering) to Harlequin Spice with the enticement of the other Council of Worlds for the main Spice line. No word on that, but as I said, the editors are swamped, and your turn in line comes when it does. Submissions is a waiting game.

The other thing I've done is something I haven't done since 2001 (the days when I had only Prophecy and Fairy Dreams to offer and no fiction resume to recommend me). I've queried an agent. The good news is that I have 6 years of prolific fiction writing resume to recommend me now. The bad news is that the fact that Kegin started in indie/e, and I'm actually looking to place those first few books with the rest, may work against me...at least slightly. Even if I do sign the series to an agent and then a NY publisher, it's going to take a long time to see print, but if that's the cost, I'll live with it. I just wish I didn't have to ask the readers to wait with me.

Night Warriors has a similar story. There are a couple of beast shorts/novelettes out there or releasing soon.Forbidden Love: Bad Boys from Under The Moon/Final Sword Productions includes "Playing Games I&II," and "Becoming a God" will be releasing from Mundania Press, LLC. sometime this fall or winter.

In the meantime, the series is searching for a NY market home. It's currently included in the agent query, and fingers are crossed, though it has the same pros and cons in the marketplace that Kegin has.

In the meantime, people who like Kegin, Night Warriors and Renegades are probably going to adore ONCE UPON A TIME, YESTERDAY, an anthology of urban fantasy erotic romance, written by myself and Gregory L. Norris. It should be releasing in an 8.5X11 illustrated collector's edition from Under The Moon in October. It's in edits, as we speak.

14 August 2007

Reselling ARCs

Okay, I know people don't LIKE to see their ARCs up for resale. I know many authors like to believe that the ARC is somehow sacred and set apart from the laws that govern resale of print books. Unfortunately, it's not, and the resale of ARCs is a part of the system. Getting riled up about it is a waste of time, IMO.

Whether an ARC SAYS it's not for resale or not, they are resold, and there is nothing illegal about it. If it's in a printed format and distributed in the US (please note that different laws exist overseas), there is nothing you can legally do to stop the resale of a print book.

Now, for those whose backs have just gone up...and their tempers with it, let me assure you that I find the practice of "book trolls" and reviewers reselling ARCs without reviewing them to be personally distasteful and unethical, but I still know it's not illegal. Nor, do I necessarily see the practice of reviewers reselling ARCs AFTER writing their review to be a bad thing. I'll get back to this.

Let's start with the laws. As long as a print book was legally printed by the copyright owner/publisher, who chose to release copies of it, for sale or free promotion copies, what happens to those copies once they are distributed to readers is beyond the control of the publisher or author...within reason. It doesn't matter how the book originally made it into a reader's hands, the laws governing paper books are the same.

So, what is unreasonable? If, for instance, someone scans in a paper book and distributes the resulting copy in e-book, for free or for sale, it's illegal, because illegal copies have been made and distributed. If an illegal print copy/reproduction of a copyright print book is made and distributed, in any way, it's illegal and actionable. Likewise, if any e-book (save out-of-copyright classics or e-books INTENDED as free downloads and with the permission to pass) is given away, traded or sold by anyone other than the author/publisher or licensed distributor, it's illegal and actionable. Then again, e-books are a lot of fun, because you're not just dealing with copyright. You're dealing with DRM/Millennium Act, electronic licensing, etc. I have an entire article about this on
EPIC's site.

So, reselling an ARC is not technically illegal. I've been told that eBay will take down an ARC copy, if the author/publisher requests it, and that's nice of them, but since they aren't required by law to do so, I wouldn't expect that same result from all outlets of used books.

Now, it's not only reviewers that put ARCs out for resale. I'll be the first to admit it. I briefly mentioned book trolls. What is a book troll? It's simple, really. When authors and publishers send books out to conventions or to contests, they hope the books will go to readers who will actually read them...or at the very least to a reader who will keep the books that appeal to him/her and then give away or donate the rest of the books. Even if such a person keeps some and sells the rest, there's nothing wrong with it. A book troll is a person who enters a ton of book contests or picks up freebies he/she has NO intention of reading, just so he/she can resell the books and make a buck. Now, the books are still in circulation, which is good, but IMO...it's highly unethical to do this. It goes against the grain of what the books were intended for. Book trolls exist in any forum/event where books are to be had for free, and they are a sad truth of the business. There's always someone out to make a fast buck.

Now, back to the subject of reviewers selling ARCs. If the reviewer has done a review on the book, I have no problem with this, on a professional level. Gut feelings aside, common sense tells me a couple of things:

1) Reviewers don't have room to store every book they review, unless they are e-books. For that reason, I have no problems with reviewers who read and review the book then donate, pass along to a friend or even resell the book. They have to do SOMETHING with those they don't feel are keepers, after all, and I'd rather it still be in circulation than trashed.

2) Reviewers are rarely paid for their work with more than a free read. While I don't want to see book troll reviewers, who never return reviews on the books they take in, the little bit of money they'd earn from an ARC or two on eBay every month isn't that much compensation for them. They aren't getting rich on the sales, most likely, and a couple of ARCs resold aren't breaking the bank of most authors.

3) The two exceptions to 2 would be price gouging, which is never right, and collectors items, which I have no problem with.

In the case of price gouging, I gladly protect my readers by having books removed from sale on reputable sites. There is NO excuse for someone that sells a copy of the book as released for sale...nothing special, not signed, not containing major errata...for more than 5 times the going rate for the book. I won't accept that trolling for someone inattentive in purchasing as ethical or legal.

OTOH, collectors are not your normal readers. If someone possesses the ARC copy of a book that I did my ACTUAL galley corrections on, I'll not only allow it to sell for hundreds of dollars, I'll sign it for the buyer...and I will DAMNED SURE tout that someone was willing to purchase it for that much money. It's a matter of pride, and the collector knows what he/she wants. There's nothing wrong with this sort of thing, IMO. If I thought someone would actually purchase it for big bucks, I'd tell my publisher to offer my galley-corrected ARC. Grinning... But, that would be somewhat underhanded.

4) Print books are often passed and re-read. In fact, what author doesn't hope that his/her book will be picked up by the library system? We ENCOURAGE a certain amount of sharing, inherent in the system. What makes this so different? Perhaps a matter of trust, but not much otherwise.

I might note that some publishers/authors will choose not to send more review copies to a reviewer that routinely resells the ARCs. I'd be tempted to do the same, but there is nothing inherently illegal about the practice. You have to decide for yourself if the small loss of income and increased readership is worth it to you or not. And, I'll be the first to state that it is NOT the same thing as pirating!

REVIEW for The Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin's Press
Aug 2007
Hard Bound Edition
ISBN 978-0-312-36950-7

This is officially a Dark Hunter book, though it becomes apparent that this one includes all manner of strange bedfellows, from Dream Hunters and Dark Hunters through warring gods, Daimons and humans frozen in time, surprisingly working together. The only major breed I don't remember seeing in the book were the Were Hunters.

Take Sin, the ancient Sumerian god of the moon, calendar and fertility, now masquerading as a Dark Hunter, stripped of almost all of his god-powers by the ever-popular Artemis. Add in Katra, the daughter Artemis doesn't want to admit to having. She's a sarcastic, nearly-all-powerful goddess in her own right, now traded to Artemis's arch enemy, the Atlantean goddess Apollymi. Toss in the coming end of the world, in the form of the Sumerian Kerir, brought on by the escaping gallu demons and their big-bad sister demons, the Dimme. Now toss in the fact that Kat was originally sent to kill Sin, that Sin has almost no chance of stopping the apocalypse without his god-powers and that Artemis is being her usual selfish...self. That about covers the basics.

Set in "Sin city," literally... I do adore Sherrilyn's sense of humor. This book is about betrayal and trust and sets us up for Ash's coming book. In many ways, it's another bridge book in the series, and it will make a lot more sense, if you've read what comes before it, but it's a great story, in its own right. There are a lot of characters you've met before, both mentioned and met in The Devil May Cry, and if you haven't read previous installments, you might get lost in the who-is factor.

Overall, a keeper like all the rest and, while not my favorite, one that will send you through a roller coaster of emotion, which I always love about Sherrilyn's books. It did pose some questions it didn't answer. It did introduce one quirk to the commonly-held world that I don't feel was explained, but who knows? Maybe it will be in the next book. Or, maybe Sherrilyn will show mercy on me and tell me why it happened and not tease me with "We'll see."

Highly recommended for anyone following the universe. Highly suggested that you don't START with this book.

Brenna Lyons

12 August 2007


A little bit of background...

FAIRY DREAMS was the second book I ever wrote. I've been waiting 6 years for it to release. Today, it went up for pre-sale at Mundania Press, LLC. You can be among the first to purchase it at this link!

Blurb for FAIRY DREAMS--
Mollie has impossible hopes and dreams. When one of her dreams comes
true in the form of Cadal, she wonders what else is possible. Are her dreams of fairies as real as her dreams of Cadal? Is she losing her mind or learning her destiny?

Cadal came to the Blake estate to fulfill a promise as quickly as he can. Guiding Mollie until she learns to run her estate sounds like a simple task to Cadal -- until Mollie looks in his eyes for the first time. He wants her in a way he hasn't wanted a woman since Xanthe. If only she wasn't human…

Reality checks bouncing again!

So, there I was...checking e-mail, when I saw a message from a dear friend, Helen Madden. Now, I've known Helen for years, first on ERWA and then on EPIC lists. She's a great lady, a great writer and is always there to help out, in a pinch. So, it was a major surprise to me to get a letter asking me what she should do about someone misrepresenting what EPIC is on a forum for a book event. She'd already posted her own reply to it, saying that the woman's interpretation is incorrect, but she was truly at a loss.

Without reposting what this cowardly individual -- who posts on the forum without giving ANY contact information off the forum, I might note -- actually said, I'll give you the gist of it. She represents EPIC as an "erotic writers' group" that is depraved, producing pornography and should be boycotted, should we attend any function in her area. She's also thrown any number of veiled threats and personal attacks on the individuals and EPIC as a whole. I won't repeat my thought process on this person's character, but you can guess by the fact that she heavily quotes Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson in her tirades...but notably not the Bible.

I'm caught between a couple of emotions here. One is admittedly exasperation with people who are so zealous in their beliefs that they don't use common sense in looking at what an organization is or is not. This reminds me of the rant I read about the Harry Potter books, making correlations that not even someone with a heavy religious background could have made, because they just DON'T exist.

On that note, it's clear enough to anyone who is not so afflicted with blinders, that EPIC is not an organization of "erotic" authors. EPIC is not ERWA, EAA, RWA's Passionate Pen Chapter or any other erotic organization. EPIC is, in fact, The Electronically Published Internet Connection, a professional organization, consisting of e-published and print-published authors and industry professionals. We're a worldwide organization, currently in our 10th year, which (at this moment) boasts 636 members in upwards of 9 countries around the globe. We accept writers and publishers of every genre of fiction and non-fiction.

What EPIC does NOT do is skewer or exclude someone for what they write or do not write. We don't show a bias, based on religion, political affiliation, genre, sex, age, sexual orientation or any other label one might use. Neither do we allow any person or group to be maligned in such a fashion on our lists. I find it incomprehensible that anyone feels the need to attack such a force of unity, support, purpose and fellowship, on the basis that there must be something wrong with a group that is not intolerant by nature.

Neither is is true that EPIC "produces pornography." EPIC is not a publisher. The only things EPIC "publishes" or "produces" are free guides to publishing, marketing and internet usage (specifically designed to aid teachers in the classroom). There is nothing pornographic in an article about making your own web site or formatting to guidelines.

Neither is EPIC out to promote the erotic authors and publisher-members, to anyone's detriment, least of all...children, as the poster accuses. When we hold our EPICon every year, we have an e-Fiesta, designed to bring in readers. It is designed as a family-friendly event. We have snacks and bubbles for the kids, coloring sheets, etc. The promo at the event is required to be PG-13 or below. We have never had a problem with inappropriate materials being passed at e-Fiesta. If we can pull that off, with more than 200 promo items being sent for e-Fiesta per year, we can certainly do the same for someone else's event. In fact, sensual and erotic authors make a habit of asking if the venue is open to erotic, before sending anything to an event.

The EPPIE, the award EPIC runs every year, for e-books, has 23 categories, only 5 of which are erotic in nature. This isn't unheard of, in any awards. The Dream Realm, for instance, which has a total of 7 categories, all of which are SF/F/H based, has a category of erotic work in their contest.
The Prism, for SF/F/H romance books, also contains 7 categories, one of which is erotic. Percentage-wise, the contests are not far removed in their erotic content. I cannot, in good conscience, agree with the rant of the individual, that ANY of these organizations are "hiding behind the other genres in an effort to disguise the filth they pander." (paraphrased) We are inclusive, and we don't hide that. Neither are we focused on one genre, as she accuses.

For anyone that accuses that I "shamelessly" accept and promote pornography, may I direct you to the post I made on the difference between erotic and porn?

Someone asked me whether or not I was concerned about bad press for EPIC out of this, being EPIC president and all. I'll post my reply here.

Bring it on. I will be more than happy to counter this and teach them the solid truth of smear campaigns in the 21st Century. It's going to backfire, because I have the internet working in my favor, and I'll bet money on the fact that I disseminate the truth of what EPIC is and is not, while we continue to look like the professional organization we are.

Here's what they clearly don't get. You get Robertson involved (or someone of his status) and what happens? It gets national media. National media contacts the EPIC board and finds that Robertson and friends are maligning a professional organization of writers for no good reason, if the organization she touts would actually back her in this, to begin with. Enough said. Yes, there will be a few right-wing religious papers that will tar and feather us, but I'd bet I could get a NY Times article or Washington Post article, with the truth about EPIC, spread a hell of a lot further than they can get theirs. We might even get a Tonight Show top ten joke about it. Who does that hurt? Not us, that's for sure. It's all free advertising for us and e-books, as long as they spell the name right. It's a lousy way to get exposure, but there is no way that I will back down and slink away when faced with such an attack.

02 August 2007

Sneak preview of art!

Time for sneak previews of art! Always my favorite day of the month, more or less. Okay, in all honesty, release days beat it, but not much else does. So, what sneak previews do we have today?

Let's start with my black and white internal art for "The Master's Lover" in Forbidden Love: Sacred Bands, releasing this month from Under The Moon. This art was created by the fabulous Anne Cain!

Next, the cover of the new and improved Collected Writings of Brenna Lyons: Poetry Book One, now available for sale in e-book from Lulu.com and print from CafePress. See the purchase page on my site for details on all books up for sale.

Last but not least, the cover of Phaze in Verse, releasing September 27th from Phaze. This cover is courtesy of the stellar Alessia Brio. Give this lady a hand.